Video Game Boosts Treatment Adherence in Kids with Cancer

August 5, 2008

A video-game intervention targeting adolescents and young adults with cancer improved treatment adherence, self-efficacy and knowledge, but did not impact self-reported measures of adherence, stress, control or quality of life, according to an article in the August issue of Pediatrics.

TUESDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A video-game intervention targeting adolescents and young adults with cancer improved treatment adherence, self-efficacy and knowledge, but did not impact self-reported measures of adherence, stress, control or quality of life, according to an article in the August issue of Pediatrics.

Pamela M. Kato, Ph.D., of Stanford Hospital in Stanford, Calif., and colleagues conducted a randomized trial to assess a video-game intervention designed to improve adherence and other behavioral outcomes for adolescents and young adults with cancer. In total, 375 patients between 13 and 29 years of age with a malignancy were randomly assigned to the intervention or control group. The intervention video game addressed issues of cancer treatment and care, and outcome measures included adherence, self-efficacy, knowledge, control, stress and quality of life.

The investigators found greater adherence to prescribed prophylactic antibiotics in the intervention group. While the intervention increased both self-efficacy and knowledge compared to the control group, the intervention did not impact self-reported adherence, stress, control or quality of life.

"Video-game based interventions may constitute one component of a broader integrative approach to health care that synergistically combines rationally targeted biological and behavioral interventions to aid patients in the prevention, detection, treatment, and recovery from disease," the authors conclude.

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